It’s Phoenix Comicon time! Well, it’s over a month later but hey, better late than never!
A hidden secret of PCC is that it’s also an author convention. Considering it’s right around BEA and I can only go to one, that’s a comfort.
That’s not to say Phoenix Comicon is lacking. Aside from bringing in some pretty big names each year (like Jim Butcher, Diana Gabaldon, and V.E. Schwab), this book convention is made extra special by a local charity called Kids Need to Read. Initially founded by PJ Haarsma, Denise Gary, and Nathan Fillion, their mission is:
“…to create a culture of reading for children by providing inspiring books to underfunded schools, libraries, and literacy programs across the United States, especially those serving disadvantaged children.”
Kids Need to Read has a booth and is a wonderful presence at the convention, including an event called Drinks with Authors. This is one of the only events I go to and it’s quite a lot of fun.
Imagine the scene. They open up a couple joined rooms so there is a lot space. Between guests and attendees, we take up much of the space, too.
So you pay the cover charge (all of which goes to Kids Need to Read) and then you can go to one of three bars to grab your geek-themed alcoholic beverages.
I didn’t get a picture of mine but it was called the Hulk, only I don’t think they made it before they named it because it was blue instead of green.
But hey! You’re not here for the booze. Look out! There are authors about!
What makes this event special is not just how much money it raises for this very important charity, but it’s not like a panel where you’re asking about writing advice and book stuff. That’s all in there, for sure (I learned a lot from V.E. Schwab about characterization and villains as she was chatting about her books). But it’s just a fun event with booze and books where you can hang out and meet some of the authors attending the convention.
By “some of the authors,” I mean Sam Sykes, Wesley Chu, Michael Cole, Paul Kreuger, Pierce Brown, Brian McClellan, Gini Koch, Ryan Dalton and I’m sure a few others I didn’t see. At one point, those first four were all walking around with their name tags saying “Patrick Rothfuss.” It was both adorable and funny.
I also got to meet Paul Krueger! I had followed him on Twitter because he was coming here but I don’t think I really expected to meet him in person (usually I work the event, so I just expect not to see anyone I want to see). It was great getting to chat with people I’ve only interacted with on Twitter. Pretty sure I came across as a creepy fool, but it’s hard not to when around so many awesome people.
Kids Need to Read presents a raffle where the proceeds go directly to the charity, so you have a chance of winning a book or two from the authors present (signed, of course). We ended the night by finishing the raffle and then Michael Cole enacted a bidding war for a massive Instagram picture frame signed by all the authors in attendance.
I think we got up to $600 something? It was intense. A date with Pierce Brown was involved, with the “prize” becoming increasingly ridiculous. It was a load of fun.
I would recommend Phoenix Comicon for anyone interested in writing workshops plus it’s a book convention AND geek convention rolled into one. I would recommend Drinks with Authors for writers and readers interested in getting some drinks with friends and interacting with visiting authors in a more relaxed setting. It’s also a great opportunity to give to charity and maybe win some prizes!